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View Full Version : AppleTV, mini osx or server and networking…whew !!!




mnctxusa2010
Apr 17, 2010, 03:47 PM
(I thought this the best place to post as I am looking for AppleTV info and most guys here would probably have experienced networking issues too)

Ok smart people, I am REALLY needing some assistance as there are just too many choices and variables for what I am trying to do. I have made the transition to Mac and just wish I had done it long time ago, however, I have a few final changes to make before I will be windows free. I have read the threads for weeks and now to put all my thoughts and ideas into practice.

So here is what I currently have:

MacPro (myself) running main iTunes library
2 Macbook Pro’s myself and wife
2 imacs (kids)
several ipads, ipods and iphones
2 airport express
1 airport base station

I currently also have cable internet connected to Linksys router to external nic on Windows server, then internal nic to switch and all other computers and peripherals on internal network.

Step 1.
I want to get rid of windows server which currently handles IP’s and acts as firewall and replace with Mac mini for reasons to be explained in further steps.

Step 2.
I stream iTunes from my MacPro throughout the home using the airport express’s and this works flawlessly with apple remote on ipod and iphone controlling the music. I want to put the library on central system now so my system does not always have to be on and this library can be shared by all.

Step 3.
I want to convert DVD collection to digital so it can be used in two separate media rooms. I was going to use mini and plex for this instead of Apple TV and Apple TV flash, but then thought I would need two mini’s, so rather go two Apple TV’s and pull content from central libraries/storage on the central mini.

So would my choice of going mini with OSX and not Server OSX be the best choice as my central system? My thinking is if I use mini with OSX, I can connect USB storage or NAS storage and have this mini the central iTunes and iphoto library and also store all the DVD digital media there. I could then share iTunes with 4 of the other systems using family share. I could get a usb to NIC adapter and still have an external nic from cable (should I still use a router or put in a firewall appliance like Smoothwall to add security after removing my windows server? I like my security) Then the internal nic would go to switch where other computers and peripherals are connected. I do have cat5 to all locations even though I also use wireless on internal network as well.

So would I be able to accomplish all this and do you see any errors in my thinking or alternatives that could work and be a lot simpler?



waw74
Apr 17, 2010, 04:07 PM
why do you need everything to go though the server? as long as it's on the network, the other computers will be able to access it.

If you need more features that what your linksys offers, look at DD-WRT (http://www.dd-wrt.com/), I've been using that for years, with no problems. It's a linux based firmware that runs on many routers.
This should be more than adequate, and only give you the router exposed to the world, instead of your mini. and be better optimized for doing things that routers should do, like port forwarding and the like.
Is your linksys router also your modem? if so, maybe just invest in another liksys that will run dd-wrt, can be found for around $50.

as far as the server vs standard, i think server would be overkill in your situation, doubt you would use any of the features that aren't in standard OSX. and the extra $400 could be better spent on a couple 2TB external drives to get you the extra storage.

ChrisRyan
Apr 17, 2010, 07:32 PM
Similar setup to what I have just done, but I have stuck with the Windows server with all the media on as I can be sure that it is on when I want to access a film or bit of music - and now with the itunes update get tracks from it to any iTunes install on my mac, the laptop, netbook to either of our iphones. My decision for Windows was simple - one of cost, even the Mini server that Apple do is still over the top price wise I think, we could do with a small headless appliance type thing like the Time Machine boxes but with the ability to add just a touch of services - handing off downloads to it, sharing calendar with other family members etc.
You could, if the goal is a Windows free world, look at something like http://www.amahi.org/ - would run on your existing Windows hardware that you have without buying more stuff, and you should be able to use linux networking to setup a rules based firewall with fair ease on it, it also has the added bonus of having all that good stuff like downloading, media serving, calendar sharing, family wiki, photo sharing etc built right in or one click installs. I personally didn't get on with it as I got angry after it lost one of the disks from my RAID set despite being there, bye bye all my media :( Only downside - lack of proper Itunes serving, Firefly is alright but it feels a bit limited, maybe I missed something but I couldn't see how to get it sharing properly like Itunes does now with, I want to sync media not just play it in the itunes interface.

Another solution to your firewall situation - run smoothwall or similar in a virtual machine under say VM fusion or Parallels on the new server box - VM would be my choice as you can get already made "appliances" setup and ready to tweak and go. Forward your routers DMZ to the virtual network interface and the other interface to your internal lan. No hardware footprint and the VM stuff would allow you to better utilize existing hardware more efficiently - serving Itunes to a couple of computers on your LAN is hardly straining todays hardware available even at the budget end.

As for your DVD collection, oh there is an awesome post in the sticky at the top of this forum section. Seriously, having got the ATV and finding this post it has made my life heaven (in the case of media tagging etc). Seriously easy to get setup and works like a charm. I have been doing our DVD collection this weekend and converting to Itunes/ATV friendly m4v and it is perfect. Pop in the DVD, rips it automatically, I am do a letter at a time - our dvd collection is something over 200 titles - then leave the Mac on overnight to do the conversion and right click tag it in the morning. Drop that to the server afterwards into the new "Automatically add to Itunes" folder and the media is right their like an Itunes purchase in our front room on the ATV.

Sorry for the long post, but hopefully there is something in it of use LOL

mnctxusa2010
Apr 17, 2010, 08:02 PM
Thank you both for the responses. Both have provided really helpful info. I like the DD-WRT info and Chris don't worry about the lengthy response, that is the type of info I am looking for.

I used to use Smoothwall and going to setup a 3.0 box this weekend too. I might just keep the windows server in the network after all, since you have given me some good ideas.